The Phony Campaign

2007-11-24 Update

It's been a long nine days since I updated; frankly, there's not much happenin' on the phony scene:

Query StringHit CountChange Since
"Hillary Clinton" phony521,000-35,000
"Ron Paul" phony413,000-15,000
"Barack Obama" phony362,000-37,000
"John Edwards" phony354,000-19,000
"John McCain" phony351,000+8,000
"Rudy Giuliani" phony291,000-22,000
"Mitt Romney" phony280,000-19,000
"Fred Thompson" phony273,000-20,000
"Dennis Kucinich" phony183,000+2,000
"Mike Huckabee" phony157,000-31,000

Comments and Observations:

  • Dennis Kucinich rises from his long stay at the bottom of our compilation; only he and McCain gained phony hits since we last looked.

  • William Safire is coming up on his 78th birthday, but he's still spry enough to note a couple of interesting words that have started to creep over political writing, like the black goo in Spider-Man 3: "gotcha" and "smackdown". Of the latter, Safire writes:

    In current political use, smackdown is less serious than confrontation or conflict and more colorful than fracas; more a clash of two individuals than brawl or melee and not as bookish a fight as affray or as boring from overuse as battle.

    A useful political neologism. To my ear, it has the sound of humorous exaggeration, a phony fury as exemplified by the clash of show-biz titans in the wrestling arena. We may be present at the birth of a gleeful burst of exuberance in campaign coverage.

    In short, the implication is that a lot of political rhetoric is as authentic as pro wrestling. Hmmm…

  • Our phony frontrunner has brought out a new TV ad attempting to combat the whole phoniness issue. A man named Joe Ward speaks to the camera:

    "Let me tell you a little story. My son Joel had a terrible illness. He needed a bone marrow transplant that our insurance wouldn't cover and we couldn't afford.

    "We called Senator Clinton and asked for help. Her office called the next day letting us know that the hospital was going to absorb the cost of the transplant. Now, her opponents are saying that Hillary can't be trusted. I trusted this woman to save my son's life, and she did."

    I'm glad Joe's son is better. But his conclusion that Hillary is somehow trustworthy seems like a glaring non sequitur. Does anyone actually doubt that she's a true believer in the delusion that government can and should "enrich everyone at the expense of everyone else"?

    Hey, if, as Senator, she can get a hospital to "absorb the cost" of a major operation for Joe's son, as President she'll be able to get everyone else's medical costs to be "absorbed", right?

    Can that actually happen? No. Is it phony for the ad to imply otherwise? You bet.

Last Modified 2014-12-01 10:21 AM EDT

Shrek the Third

[Amazon Link] [3.0
stars] [IMDb Link]

You'll note that the DVD box screams: "THE BEST SHREK YET". And on the day after Thanksgiving, I get to give thanks for the fact that we live in America and nobody can be jailed for uttering such outright lies.

Yes, this is the second movie in a row I watched that is the third in a series. I suppose I can be grateful that the third Pirates of the Caribbean movie isn't out yet.

And it suffers the same quality dropoff observed with Spider-Man: TomatoMeter rates the three Shrek films: 89%, 88%, 42%. At IMDB, the user ratings go: 8.0, 7.6, 6.3. You can't just animate a big green ogre and expect the viewers to swoon.

Still, it's Shrek, so although the laughs aren't as huge or continuous, they're still there. But they turned the preachiness dial up a few notches. And unfortunately there's nothing like the scene in the first movie where Fiona's singing caused her accompanying bird to explode. Man, that never gets old.

Last Modified 2012-10-16 5:58 AM EDT